Wednesday, 20. June 2007

No Insight without Mathematics!

Workshop for Pupils on Computer Tomography – A Complete Success

“From the buckle to the knuckle” – this is how physicians rather casually describe the field of application of computer tomographs: latest high-tech ray equipment which scan human bodies for hidden tumors. But what has such an examination (that takes only two minutes) to do with mathematics? On the first weekend of June, mathematicians from the University of Paderborn demonstrated to 30 sixth formers that mathematics need NOT necessarily mean abstract and sophisticated brain work, but that it is a use-oriented means, e.g. to solve medical problems among others. Thus, the “probationary students” learned that the methods for analysing the tumograph data  are the same as those applied to calculate the orbit of planets.

An inspection of a computer tomograph “on site” in the Paderborn hospital “Brüderkrankenhaus St. Joseph” on Friday, which was guided by the chief physician Dr. Marc Keberle, was followed by the second part on Saturday, a workshop on the premises of the Institute for Mathematics: Norbert Köckler, professor for numerical mathematics at the University of Paderborn gave a short introduction to the mathematical background of computer tomography, adding zest to his theoretical explanations by means of animated pictures and first simple equations.

After noon it was time to practice: the assistants of Professor Köckler introduced the pupils to the work with computer programs. Very soon, a competition could be started: Who will find the hidden phantasy pictures by means of mathematical tools? The questions can be found at:
Robert Schippa from Vlotho was the winner of the day: he won the prize, a book on “Der Zahlen gigantische Schatten” (“The Giant Shades of Numbers”). But also the other participants were excited and gave an positive echo to the hosts from the institute of mathematics: “When will my little sister have the occasion to sign up for the next workshop?” For Marc Keberle, Norbert Köckler and their team this was a clear inducement to offer a similar project very soon, to make clear that “Maths thrills!”.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Norbert Köckler
phone: 05251 60 26 11, - 26 17

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